Medical negligence case: Mumbai hospital ordered to pay up Rs 1.75 lakh

Jul 14, 2014, 07:44 IST | Dimple Bhavsar and Ankoor Anvekar

While a Wadala eye hospital had deemed the 91-year-old fit enough to undergo cataract surgery, a second opinion by another doctor after she developed complications found that she had very low platelet count

A grandson's long battle for justice finally ended, when the consumer court ordered that a Wadala hospital pay him Rs 1.75 lakh for an operation that caused his grandmother’s death back in 2006.

Laxmi Sundaram, then 91, was admitted to hospital on September 20, 2006 and died on December 18 due to post-operative haemorrhage bleeding and swelling in her eye
Laxmi Sundaram, then 91, was admitted to hospital on September 20, 2006 and died on December 18 due to post-operative haemorrhage bleeding and swelling in her eye

According to Sampath Kumar (48), he had taken his grandmother Laxmi Sundaram, then 91 years old, for an eye check-up to Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital in Wadala on July 5, 2006. Laxmi had been complaining of poor vision in her right eye, and moderate vision in her left.

On doctor’s advice, Kumar got his grandmother admitted to the facility on September 20. The hospital told him that she would have to undergo a surgery and recommended a treatment called photodynamic therapy, followed by a cataract procedure.

Platelets too low
Kumar claims the hospital told him that the senior citizen’s blood report deemed her fit enough to undergo the operation. However, Laxmi developed swelling in her eyes and also suffered from haemorrhage bleeding after the operation was done on September 21.

Kumar went to another doctor, haemotologist Dr M B Agarwal, for a second opinion. Dr Agarwal found that the elderly patient had myeloid leukaemia and her platelet count was 30,000 a minimum count of 1,50,000 qualifies one to be operated upon.

Laxmi later suffered from the haemorrhage bleeding and passed away on December 18, 2006. Sampath filed a complaint with the Central Mumbai consumer district forum in 2007, alleging medical negligence on part of the hospital.

During proceedings, experts from J J Hospital reviewed the eye hospital’s report and found it faulty on account of having used an incorrect methodology. The laboratory and its pathologists have been held responsible for the report.

Dr Radhika Srinivasan, spokesperson for Aditya Eye Jyot Hospital, said, “The district consumer redressal court has dismissed all charges against the doctors and the hospital. Now, only the charges against the pathology are still pending.”

Landmark case
The consumer court has directed the hospital to pay R1.75 lakh as compensation to Kumar. Geeta Khanuja, the complainant’s lawyer, told mid-day, “This is a milestone case and a benchmark, as it is extremely difficult to win a case for the complainant.

This is also a case which will help the common people understand that justice prevails.” In their defence, the hospital lawyers had argued that since Kumar was her grandson, he wasn’t entitled to the compensation. However, the complainant produced bills showing he had paid for the treatment and hence, by all right, could lay claim to the amount.

Commenting on his success, Kumar said, “I never fought for the compensation; I lost my dear one due to someone else’s fault. Such incidents should not be ignored at any cost.” He further added, “I don’t think this compensation is going to hurt the concerned people. However, my objective of drawing public attention to the callous attitude of doctors, even in reputed hospitals, is achieved.

We spend a lot of money to get the best possible medical attention for our loved ones. But, in my case, my grandmother spent her last days in miserable blindness because of the lack of due diligence on the hospital’s part. I don’t wish this even for my worst enemy.”

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